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Another night, another COVID-19 party ticket — at same Victoria home

Victoria police have handed out tickets to partiers breaching provincial health orders two nights in a row — both times at the same residence.
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says police and other provincial enforcement officers are being given the ability to issue tickets to people not following B.C.’s COVID-19 orders. GOVERNMENT OF B.C.

Victoria police have handed out tickets to partiers breaching provincial health orders two nights in a row — both times at the same residence.

Early Sunday, Victoria police fined a party guest at a Fort Street apartment suite $230 for violating the COVID-19 Related Measures Act.

The 18-year-old male guest refused to co-operate and leave when police broke the party up, said Const. Cam MacIntyre.

“It’s disappointing and frustrating,” MacIntyre said. “It’s incredibly reckless.”

Officers were called to the multi-unit residential building in the 1000 block of Fort Street for a noise disturbance.

Patrol officers arrested the man for obstructing a peace officer and served him with a $200 violation ticket under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act “for abusive or belligerent behaviour at a social gathering,” plus a $30 victim surcharge levy.

The guest was released at the scene and left the area, police said. No additional violation tickets were issued, MacIntyre said.

Police said 15 people were at the party — too many to allow for physical distancing, MacIntyre said, but far fewer than on Friday night, when an estimated 40 to 60 youth were packed inside the one-bedroom suite.

The room was so crowded and hot Friday there was condensation on the windows and the party attendees were sweating, police said.

The host, a young adult male who had been warned previously by police, was issued a $2,000 fine, plus a $300 victim-surcharge levy.

Victoria police will now be monitoring the resident of this suite, MacIntyre said. Further violations could result in more significant tickets and even criminal charges of mischief.

Police can recommend charges if violation tickets do not prove to be effective deterrents, or in cases of egregious contraventions or for repeat offenders. On conviction, penalties of up to $10,000 may be levied, according to the province.

“We are not going to tolerate this kind of behaviour,” MacIntyre said. “It’s unacceptable as it puts public health at risk.”

About 45 minutes prior to attending the party Sunday morning, police officers were at the scene of a violent robbery, MacIntyre said. These are the types of calls that police need to focus on rather than fining people who can’t practise “simple consideration” for others during a pandemic, he said.

Under orders issued by the provincial health officer, organizers and hosts of events must ensure physical distancing of two metres between guests, take names and addresses of all attendees, and provide hand sanitiation amongst other provisions. Gatherings are limited to 50 people or fewer.

> The provincial health officer's order on gathering and events can be found here (PDF).